Big data, metrics, dashboards, analytics, clickstream data…. It’s the era of quantitative, fact-based management. Does that mean only numbers matter, or is there still a place for qualitative input into the process?
You spent big bucks a few years ago on a translator, faithfully paid yearly maintenance fees, and applied upgrades. There's still something you need the software to do that it can’t. What’s there to do about it?
Before jumping into a drop ship model – sure, it's enticing if you consider the benefits of carrying little or no inventory; besides there are gazillions of so-called drop ship providers to choose from! – make sure you understand all angles.
Let’s say you’re the customer of a big supplier. You’ve implemented an EDI connection with them, but you’re having a problem reconciling their invoices. It seems the unit of measure (UOM) you send isn’t matching on the invoice. Why?
A lean supply chain procures only the parts/materials it needs. It manufacturers only what is needed. It stores and transports exactly what the customer wants. And the members of the supply chain (the manufacturing company, external suppliers, external logistics companies and the customer) coordinate with each other to do the job exactly when it is needed. Visibility across the supply chain is the key to make this happen. The Internet, EDI and supply chain software are the tools. Anything that gets in the way of this process is called “waste”.
As my career in EDI is now reaching the decade mark, I recently began some self-reflection and surprisingly found both depth and breadth of the opportunities and experiences those three letters combined have brought my way. Daily interaction with all levels of an organization from customer service representatives to executives, across multiple industries and platforms has given me the opportunity to view business operations from a multitude of perspectives and become what I believe to be a more well rounded in the entire supply chain process.
Many companies have developed or purchased systems that use the WEB and provide an alternative to “traditional” EDI. Are they really easier for a small company? What is lost? What is gained?
Back in the old days, you placed orders with your supplier by phone, fax, mail, and by walking into their store. They entered your order into their system, picked and delivered your products, and mailed you an invoice. Your AP clerk took the invoice, did the 3 way match, put it in the stack to be paid, and you mailed a check at the end of the month. Have times changed or what?
First of all, let's list the possible elements in the supply chain you will manage: logistics (transportation, warehousing, at least); procurement; supply chain management systems (procurement, production, fulfillment and distribution processes, including EDI); CRM; ERP.
Most discussions on "moving to the Cloud" are directed around existing companies with existing IT infrastructure. They have an IT staff, a computer room with lots of servers, and miles of cable all over the place. But what about a start-up company? Doesn't it make a lot of sense for them to start out in the Cloud?